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GHOST / LANDSCAPE by by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher is featured at Verse Daily

GHOST / LANDSCAPE by by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher is featured at Verse Daily! Hurray and congrats!


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Today's poem is by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher

The Museum of the Occupation 
        

So, of course, you have to go in. And of course, each piece has
a card that reads "Give Me Back" beneath it, but, as you're
reading it, it's not clear if it's directed at you or if it's just a
subtle reminder that each brick of the city was forged in a
different world, by different workers, with their different
dreams and hopes who were later to be shot and lined in rows
to illustrate the garden plot, where the hedge will one day go.
It's April. There's a woodpecker letting loose somewhere
down the block. The museum windows are open, which
makes it seem the woodpecker is right next to you. But
instead, you've just this floorplan with the guard rotation
schedule and a cyanide pill in case you're captured, and the
questions get too complicated, where you forget to carry the
ten, and they implore you to take a light rest, maybe some
lemonade. "I Remember" is the title of the travelling
exhibition you came expressly to see, and it's still here, which
is surprising, as usually by the time you get to these things
they've gone on to Cincinnati. It's never really Cincinnati,
though. When we say Cincinnati we just mean we're going to
die soon, that the weather's looking bad.

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Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher: The TNB Self-Interview

 

kmd-jg

 

What are three things you want the reader to know about GHOST / LANDSCAPE?

KMD: In the poems, you’ll find a bank robbery, a lock on the door, and a freezer we keep forgetting we keep in the basement. One (and only one) of these things is real.

Now that you’ve entered the landscape, don’t follow the paths that seem most clearly marked. They’ll lead you further away from the guesthouse (and the truth about the ghost).

Lastly, and most importantly, the conference we keep referring to was really an elaborate cover-up. Even the panels were just for show.

JG: Things keep changing, you know? One moment the news is on, and it’s such very bad news from so many quarters (1). And then you’re shopping for new shoes (2). Both of these things are honest and true things about living in the world (3).

I was reading something the other day (you might’ve seen it; it was passed around facebook) arguing against the current conception of empathy, that it’s too easily swayed by individuals in crisis and not enough by long-term goals. And it reminded me of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Riker gets turned into a god, and loses his capacity for empathy. Like most things, it’s a negotiation.

 

What does collaboration make possible in your work?

JG: Someone else! I get tired of myself and my way of thinking, and it’s great to get out of that house, go visiting. It’s why we have dinner parties? Something like that. A new context allows for new thinking.

KMD: Absolutely! Collaboration invites a degree of spontaneity into my practice that is just about impossible when I’m writing alone.  I tend to be a control freak, a compulsive planner.  But when you’re writing a book with John, you really never know what he’s going to do.  Which is a good thing.  Well, most of the time.

 

Read the whole interview here

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Ghost | Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher reviewed at Ploughshares

 

ghost landscape mainGhost/Landscape
Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher
Blaxevox, February 2016
102 pp; $16

Buy: paperback

In the collaborative poetry collection Ghost/Landscape (Blazevox, 2016) by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher there is no beginning or end. The first poem is “Chapter Two.” So begins traversing a time loop of poems where the reader can really “begin” anywhere. What is a beginning and what is an ending? Is moving forward and looking behind you the same thing? A circle never ends. “Chapter Two,” begins like a bed time story:

“We must have known there was no going back…that morning, before our windows had been broken, you asked about the lock on the door. I realized it was only a matter of time before the alarm sounded, which always seemed out of place in the dead of winter.”  

The reader is a happy prisoner in this manikin-like frieze: feelings are suppressed into the pages of Goethe novel. Timelines, like broken glasses, need to be glued back together. If the reader needs to assemble a puzzle to establish a linear map, one should look to the corners first. In Ghost/Landscape, the edges are gray and decrepit. The backbone seethes.

Darling and Gallaher use color to drip the poems in surprising apathy. In this illusion to the underworld, “Thermopolis as a concept” they paint this canvas:

“The scenery is used to being blamed for such things, red,
beige, and more red with some yellow. And blue and black
and white.

I’m busy looking at everything I’m looking at. It rises and falls as I sit and stand. It’s shadowy or bright or neither, really. Navys and grays. I expect great things from it.

A little jump and it’s leaping. There on the bluffs overlooking
the town I see it leap as I’m looking at it leaping.

If, late in summer, it’s late summer, then it’s late in summer.
That weird feeling of being cheated when the forecast of bad
things happening doesn’t come to pass…”

The outer world is constantly in flux, unforgiving, and ambivalent towards the humans who gaze upon it no matter if the grass is green or covered in snow. There is also an apt correlation: if the outer surroundings are corrected than inner relationships may heal. In the poem “Landscaping,”

“We’re looking out the kitchen window, and we have this opportunity to go back and undo our errors. But where do we start? We mowed poorly around the trees. We didn’t marry well or have pleasant children…”

The landscape reflects a sadness.  There are repeated domestic objects noted throughout the collection: drinking glasses, the phone, a calendar, a television, torn photographs.  The objects reflect how the speakers convey the passing of time: selling them, losing them, realizing something was stolen. The objects may change but our connection to them remain the same. We sell certain objects just to want them again. In another poem in the middle of the collection, also titled “Chapter Two,” 

“Next thing you know, the whole house is a yard sale. Your bed is three feet under other things. Here, there’s still some room between it and where the bureau was, a kind of depression you can lie on…”

The succinct wordplay here illustrates a heavy woe: one can lay down on a bed and make a depression with one’s figure as well as succumb to an emotional albatross.



Read the whole review here

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Ghost | Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher reviewed!

 

Fjords Review, Ghost/ Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher

POETRY
GHOST/ LANDSCAPE
BY KRISTINA MARIE DARLING AND JOHN GALLAHER

BlazeVOX Books (Feb. 14, 2016)
102 pages
ISBN 978-1609642402

 

June 24, 2016

 

Two people talking about the weather has never been so insightful or enlightening. Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher’s astounding Ghost / Landscape’s show that talking about the weather doesn’t have to be awkward filler. The book moves like poetry while still functioning as prose, and integrates a narrative, suspense, and an unrequited love story into one wonderful whole.

Leaping around in time, the book is divided into chapters, beginning in the midst of things and ending at the beginning with chapter one. Even more intriguing are the chapters named after an emotion or event. Among these are “The Chapter On Regret,” “The Chapter On Museums,” and “The Chapter On Houseguests.” Surprisingly specific, these chapters name their subjects; call them out even, as it becomes clear that the book is obsessed with the weight of names and titles. The speaker asks, “What is a conversation but an attempt to make sense of objects, to dig them out from beneath their seemingly endless names?” and continues on, “How could you call that darkened room nostalgia, as though naming something isn’t a kind of violence?”

In a blunt tone, the speaker builds the world, word-by-word, bringing it into being. Both by naming objects and then dispelling their title, Ghost / Landscape depicts an image, a setting, a landscape and then destroys it all together, creating something new out of its dust. In this narrative world, shattered glass and phantom music are the background of many scenes, a murder does or doesn’t happen, a ghost can quickly become, or perhaps always was, a birthday cake, and a parking lot is renamed “something springy, because we don’t really like parking lots all that much.”

Darling and Gallaher prove that something can become anything. Words are used as a grounding device in reality and then given a rebirth as something else entirely. The poets’ voices blend together magically, where topics are seamlessly shuffled around mid-phrase and the two voices disappear under one consistent tone. Teaching readers how to read the book, the speaker explains, “I’ve always had a fondness for the absurd. Like playing two radio stations at once.” This duality between themes and authors creates an interesting tension throughout, where every thought, feeling, and chapter feels both supported by its surroundings and disputed by what precedes or follows. 

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Photos on flickr